Dyscalculia: All You Need To Know

Don’t let dyscalculia prevent your child from becoming successful.


What is Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is a learning difference that impairs a person’s ability to understand and work with numbers and mathematical concepts. Students with dyscalculia face unique challenges in the classroom as they struggle with fundamental arithmetic, number sense, estimating amounts, and even telling time. This condition brings anxiety and frustration as children are not able to perform well academically despite all the effort they put into studying.  

Signs of Dyscalculia

Some manifestations of dyscalculia in children are difficulties in 

  1. Recognizing numbers
  2. Counting 
  3. Performing basic mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  4. Understanding word problems
  5. Completing math homework and tests
  6. Navigating visual-spatial ideas, such as graphs and charts
  7. Telling time

Dyscalculia Potential Effects on Learning

Dyscalculia can have a significant impact on learning, not just in math but in related subjects as well. Here are some of the effects of dyscalculia on learning:

  1. Difficulties with Math Subjects: Students with dyscalculia find mathematics extremely challenging because they struggle with basic math skills and it is difficult for them to understand number concepts and mathematical language. They also have difficulty solving word problems because they process mathematical information slower than others. 
  2. Low Confidence and Lack of Motivation: Dyscalculia can lead to a negative self-image and loss of self-confidence and motivation. This limits their opportunities to explore and pursue other areas of learning interests and career opportunities in the future. 
  3. Poor Academic Performance: Dyscalculia can have a direct impact on academic performance, affecting grades and GPA. Math is one of the core subjects in school and a low grade would affect the overall GPA of a student which could impact their college application later on. 
  4. Increased Anxiety: The frustration over not being able to perform as well as others often leads to anxiety. When students become anxious, they are unable to focus, and this directly affects their overall academic experience. 
  5. Poor Performance on Standardized Tests: All standardized tests measure mathematical ability. Lower scores in the math sections can significantly affect a student’s overall test score, potentially limiting their educational and career opportunities and affecting their chances of admission to top colleges.

Coping with Dyscalculia

Having dyscalculia should not hold back a student from pursuing their dreams. Here are several strategies that can help individuals cope with this learning difference: 

  1. Seek Professional Assessment: If your child is showing signs of having dyscalculia, seek a professional assessment. An official evaluation and diagnosis from a certified professional can provide clarity about the learning condition and advise on how to deal with and provide support. 
  2. Provide Real-Life Math Practice: Make math meaningful by applying it to real-life situations. Tasks like cooking and baking, which involve measuring and following procedures step-by-step, are activities that show practical math applications that are fun and rewarding.
  3. Tactile Learning: Use physical objects like beads, blocks, chains, seeds, or coins to represent numbers and values. By making them concrete, students can visualize quantities, making it easier for them to understand and perform mathematical operations.
  4. Hire a Math Tutor: Students with dyscalculia will be more successful if they learn at their own pace in comfortable surroundings under the guidance of a professional math tutor or dyscalculia tutor. Through one-on-one tutoring, a student with dyscalculia will be able to study with less stress, develop confidence, and learn math techniques.